The government aims for 100 percent recyclable plastic to be in common use by 2027.
The other big four Asian plastic polluters are yet to give comprehensive figures on plastic use during the virus.
But some cities in Japan have reported an increase in plastic waste, even though its citizens are better at recycling.
Concerned by Thailand’s enduring addiction to plastic, civil society is hoping to inspire a public detox.
In northern Thailand, an academic is leading a team paving roads with plastic bags mixed with sand.
The composite slabs are lighter to transport and can last up to 400 years before decomposing, says Wechsawan Lakas of Chiang Mai Rajabhat University.
His inspiration to find an alternative came after a trip to the beach with his two young sons, who discovered waters bloated with plastic waste.
But the small gains are outsized by the scale of the Thai plastics industry, he says, insisting greater political will is needed to alter both consumer habits and the sources of raw materials.
“Because of the power of the petrochemical industry it will be difficult for the government to implement aggressive policies,” he warns.
“Changing mentalities will take years.”
by By Sophie DEVILLER and Pitcha DANGPRASITH in Chiang Mai
PHOTOS BY LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/afp